I thought I was great. I thought I was awesome. I thought I was special. Little did I know I was in for a wake up call that was going to rock my little universe. That wake up call being the real world.
A year ago, I was writing my senior thesis for my BA and could never have guessed I'd be teaching English in China in just one year. Several people have called me "brave" -- but I'm not brave, I just took a professor's advice seriously -- go teach in China, he said. So I did.
Now I'm not saying I want to go back to the days of weekday drunken debauchery and writing papers an hour before they're due... but now that I'm in my mid-20s I realize there were a few things that I took for granted in college.
At first I really thought I'd made a mistake choosing The Republic of Georgia as my first abroad experience. Who does this? Who chooses a completely odd and unusual part of the world to see their very first time out of the country? It's either the adventurous or the insane.
The rosy, post-graduation optimism had faded, and I began to realize that the promise that I had carried with me my whole life: "You can be whoever you want to be; you can have anything and everything!" was not exactly true.
I wonder if we're just not composed like the ones that came before us. If instead, we're made of the wrong stuff? If the stuff inside of us is flimsy, or too sensitive, self-doubting, if we have inner constitution of cotton candy.
You wanted to know where I thought I'd be in five years. I felt the words freeze, my mouth open in a state of dumb shock because I had suddenly realized that in five years, we could no longer attribute our mistakes to the tried and true excuse of being young, foolish, and naive.
Did they flunk out, lack motivation, decide to become a plumber instead, or did they temporarily run out of money? They might still return, and the degree might demonstrate its value somewhere down the line.
I'm doing an unpaid internship at a communications company, hoping to learn the ropes of camera operation and video editing. And I'm a planner realizing that, for the first time in my life, I don't know what comes next.
One week. One week ago, I was wide-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to work for the firm that has hired me many times -- three to be exact -- in the past as an intern and a temp, and now as a full-time employee.
Three months ago, I graduated with a degree in Biology, and $41,500 of debt (not including accrued interest). How am I coping? It's simple: pennies pinched, fingers crossed. Sure, it's a scary amount of money to owe, but it could be worse.